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16 TOP OF SHOW Months before a show opens at Mary Moody Northen Theatre, the work begins. Fake turkeys are constructed, wigs are coifed and scenes are blocked. Here’s how the cast and crew bring a play to life.

12 WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO... St. Edward’s University students are doing all kinds of interesting things outside the classroom as a result of what they’re learning in the classroom. But to really understand these amazing experiences, you need to step into their shoes.

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR I love going to the theater. I love it so much that there was a period in my life when I dreamed of belting out the great American songbook on Broadway. This time most likely occurred after a stint in my middle school’s production of Rumpelstiltskin, in which I played the title role. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my talents lay elsewhere, but my love of going to the theater never waned. This year, St. Edward’s University is celebrating 40 years of the Mary Moody Northen Theatre. And in this issue, we pay tribute to the monumental effort it takes to bring a show to life. We feature members of the cast on our cover, but there’s a team of extremely talented and hardworking students, faculty, staff and guest artists behind the scenes who create the magic you see on stage. In many ways, theater is a reflection of the liberal-arts learning environment at St. Edward’s. It’s highly collaborative — as you’ll see

in our feature — and immerses both students and the audience in unfamiliar cultures and experiences. Theater can challenge beliefs and foster the discussion of ideas. But theater isn’t the only art form that can push boundaries and inspire change. Documentary photography can help us see a place through a new lens. In this issue, Professor of Photocommunications Joe Vitone shares his photography from Southeast Asia for our story on religion and culture. His images bring to life a part of the world that many of us may never see first-hand and lend a sense of authenticity and beauty that wouldn’t be possible with words alone. That’s the beauty of the arts — and particularly the arts at St. Edward’s. Whatever the medium, the arts help each of us engage deeper with our world.

Frannie Schneider Editor

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happenings 03 News 05 Culture 07 Ideas

departments 09 Take on Your World 10 Changing Courses 11 Giving 37 Parting Shot

alumni notes 32 Alumni Profiles



Where does religion end and culture begin? It’s a tricky question, as a group of St. Edward’s University students discovered last summer during an immersive adventure through Thailand and Malaysia.

Mike Shea ’89 is executive director of the legendary SXSW festival. St. Edward’s University Magazine gives you an inside look at Austin’s most famous event — and event planner.

34 Class Notes 35 Chapter News and Events



webextras Love Thy Neighbor: In 2010, a St. Edward’s student envisioned creating a day of dignity for South Austin’s homeless. Read about how Reach Out continues to grow. Take a Bow: Many aspiring thespians have honed their crafts at Mary Moody Northen Theatre. Check out whose stars have been launched from the stage.

Mary Moody Northen Theatre kicked off its 40th anniversary season on Sept. 27, 2012, with Charles Mee’s play, Under Construction. The play juxtaposes the American dream of the 1950s with modern blogs and popular music in its quest to define our American experience. Cast members pictured, from left to right, include: Tyler Mount ’12, Sophie Franzella ’13, Mitch Harris ’13, Skyler McIntosh ’13, Hannah Marie Fonder ’14, David Cameron Allen ’13, Lindsley Howard ’12 and Matt Garcia ’13. 3001 SOUTH CONGRESS AVENUE

A Theatrical Collage: Watch as the actors at Mary Moody Northen Theatre bring Charles Mee’s postmodern comedy, Under Construction, to life.


A Camera’s-Eye View of Japan: Take a virtual trip to Japan as four students explore various aspects of Asian culture with their documentary photos from Beppu.



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Frannie Schneider Rick Ramos Mischelle Diaz Joanie Cahill Kelly King-Green Betsabe Rodriguez ’11


Hannah Hepfer Lauren Liebowitz


Jessica Attie ’04



Eileen Flynn Stacia Hernstrom MLA ’05 Joel Hoekstra Erin Peterson J. Victoria Sanders Lisa Thiegs Leigh Anne Winger ’13 George E. Martin, PhD Paige Booth


J. William Sharman Jr. hs ’58


Carolyn Lewis Gallagher


Kevin Koch ’80, MBA ’84


Reverend Thomas O’Hara, CSC

MEMBERS: Graham “Hughes” Abell John H. Bauer ’62 Brother James Branigan, CSC Thomas L. Carter Margaret E. Crahan Brother Richard Daly, CSC, ’61 Timothy F. Gavin ’76 Ellie Ghaznavi ’89 Brother Richard B. Gilman, CSC, ’65 Monsignor Elmer Holtman Regina Lewis Edward E. Leyden ’64 Joseph A. Lucci III Sister Amata Miller IHM

EX OFFICIO: George E. Martin Richard Kopec

John Mooney Patricia Berrier Munday Marilyn L. O’Neill ’74 Theodore R. Popp ’60 Martin Rose Steve Shadowen ’80 Jim A. Smith Ian J. Turpin Duncan Knapp Underwood ’95 F. Gary Valdez Donna Van Fleet Melba Whatley Peter Winstead Brother William Zaydak, CSC

Kay Arnold ’04, MLA ’06 Brady Faglie ’13

TRUSTEES EMERITI: Charles A. Betts Brother Donald Blauvelt, CSC, ’67 Edward M. Block ’50 Guy Bodine hs ’68 Leslie Clement

Isabella Cunningham Fred D. George ’69 Gregory A. Kozmetsky ’70 Bishop Emeritus John McCarthy William Jennings Renfro

St. Edward’s University Magazine is published three times a year by the Marketing Office for alumni and friends. © 2013, St. Edward’s University. Opinions expressed in St. Edward’s University Magazine are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the university.

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Student Success Just a short while ago, in a conversation with a St. Edward’s donor, I listed some of the university’s recent achievements. My litany included the university’s ranking by U.S. News & World Report at number 17 in the West; our first-place finish in our category this year among top producers of Fulbright student scholars; the continuing success of our McNair Scholars (low-income students and the first in their family to attend college), who are accepted into the country’s most prestigious graduate programs; and the accomplishments of McNair alumni such as Dahlia Campbell ’06, who reached the summit of her educational journey in December by earning a PhD in Chemistry from Purdue University and joining BASF-The Chemical Company. The donor asked me if I could define St. Edward’s in one short phrase. I responded that I could do it in just two words: student success. From the time students apply to their years as students to when they become alumni, the university is focused on helping students accomplish their goals. When students are applying, we counsel them about choosing a college and help them make certain that St. Edward’s is the best match for them. We also work closely with their entire family to familiarize them with the many ways St. Edward’s provides financial assistance. Currently, 87 percent of freshmen receive financial aid as part of the university’s commitment to access for all deserving students. From the students’ first day on campus — when we formally induct them into the St. Edward’s community by placing a Holy Cross medallion around their necks — we guide and support them on their educational journey of self-realization and pursuit of personal and career goals. We assist them through the sometimes difficult adjustments of freshman year and the obstacles that could prevent completion of their studies. Our effectiveness is demonstrated by our high freshman retention rates and graduation rates that exceed national and state average rates by double digits. We help students prepare for life after college through internships and the creation of portfolios needed to be eligible for prestigious scholarships and entrance into graduate and professional schools. The portfolios are also useful in developing résumés for employment applications. After graduation, the university reaches out to our alumni in a variety of ways. Through 22 active alumni chapters from coast to coast, our alumni join together for virtual and in-person networking opportunities, professional development and mentoring, and volunteer activities that serve their communities and the university. Success at St. Edward’s, however, is measured by more than just academic accomplishments and career achievements after graduation. Our goals for educating students haven’t been fulfilled unless every graduate has spent significant time reflecting on the meaning of life to develop an individual, customized sextant for navigating through the difficult moral and ethical straits that one encounters in professional and personal experiences. We want all graduates to understand the obligation that every individual owes to society to be a conscientious citizen committed to social justice. Only then can we fulfill our Holy Cross mission.

— President George E. Martin

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By now, you know that cute animals or babies doing just about anything will hit the viral video jackpot. So will just about any parody of PSY’s “Gangnam Style” dance. Celebrities ranting on Twitter will probably make the news, and videos of flash mobs have a way of invading Facebook pages. Social media has taken the world by storm, and St. Edward’s is right there on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google+. We may not have cute dancing goats (yet), but here’s a quick roundup of what has the university community talking online. Sept. 12, 2012: St. Edward’s University jumps into the top 20 colleges in the West in U.S. News & World Report ’s annual ranking. More than 250 people liked our Facebook status update and more than 70 people shared it.

Stephen Johnson ’13 began playing baseball — if you can call it that — at age two. “I would just swing a little bat around,” he says with a laugh. Johnson now towers at 6’4”, weighs in at 205 pounds and possesses a fastball that can reach triple-digit MPHs, a fact not lost on the San Francisco Giants, who selected him in the sixth round of the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. The news did the hilltop proud — in part because he was the second-highest draft pick in the 110-year baseball history at St. Edward’s. Johnson, a junior who plans to finish his degree at a later time, is working his way through the minor league system as a relief pitcher. He spent last summer with the SalemKeizer Volcanoes, an affiliate of the Giants. An inspiration for all underdogs, Johnson didn’t even make his high school’s varsity team until he was a senior and was only lightly recruited out of high school. He spent his first two years at St. Edward’s practicing tirelessly and gaining velocity on his pitch. The extra effort paid off in a big way: Johnson compiled a 1.45 ERA in 30 appearances and struck out 74 batters in just 43.1 innings during the 2012 season. He ended the season tied for first in the nation with 18 saves. But Johnson knows more than anyone that his work has just begun. Moving through the six levels of the minor league to the major league means bringing his A-game every time he steps onto the mound. “These are the best guys in the country,” he says. “Everyone coming out to play is as good as you are.”

Oct. 26, 2012: We posted a fall fashion gallery on Instagram and Facebook that featured knee-high leather boots, hoodies and knit caps (as well as students from around the world) that had a lot of you talking. Nov. 19, 2012: St. Edward’s launched a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. You can download the free app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Nov. 27, 2012: We announced on Facebook that St. Edward’s was ranked as the top producer of Fulbright students for 2012–2013. Nearly 150 people liked the post and more than 40 of you shared the good news with your friends.











Nov. 29, 2012: We shared a photo from the wishing tree on campus, in which a visiting senior scribed her wish to get into St. Edward’s. More than 220 of you liked this post. Now if only we knew who this mystery prospective student was…

Help us reach our goal of more than 10,000 fans on Facebook. Follow us at Want more? Follow us on Twitter at @stedwardsu and on Instagram at 3

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Hailing from the small town of Hereford, Mitch Harris ’13 rarely left Texas, much less the country, before enrolling at St. Edward’s. But that all changed when he hit three continents in four months. In May, he worked with boys living in the streets and orphans as part of a Campus Ministry immersion trip in India (“incredible”). Just two weeks later, he trekked with three friends through Kenya (“phenomenal”). Then it was three weeks in England to watch the Summer Olympics in London (“amazing”). Next on his travel wish list? Visit Iceland to see the Northern Lights.


AN AMERICAN (UNIVERSITY) IN FRANCE Participants of the university’s first-ever alumni trip to Angers, France, took time to honor the school on Oct. 8, 2012. The group celebrated St. Edward’s University Day by experiencing what life is like for students studying abroad in Angers. The group sat in on a class, took a tour of Université Catholique de l’Ouest, and even went on a field trip — a train ride to Le Mans to walk the grounds of La Solitude du Sauveur, a Holy Cross Pilgrimage Center where Father Basil Moreau, CSC, lived and started the Congregation of Holy Cross. Now that sounds like a trip we want to take!


BETTER, NOT BITTER When adjunct instructor Gary van der Wege, one of the country’s best fencers, was severely injured in a car accident, many suspected his illustrious fencing career had ended prematurely. But van der Wege didn’t miss a beat. He took up wheelchair fencing and became a six-time U.S. national champion. At 57, he traveled with Team USA to the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. How’s that for making lemonade when life hands you lemons?


Bishop McNamara High School, a Holy Cross high school outside of Washington, D.C., crowns a Man and Woman of the Year each spring — and both winners from 2011–2012 just happen to be freshmen at St. Edward’s. Matthew Nuñez ’16 and Luciana Rodrigues ’16 received the awards, given to graduating seniors who embody the goals and characteristics of Holy Cross. No pressure, but we can’t wait to see what they do as Hilltoppers.

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER FULBRIGHT Just add it to our ever-growing stack of Fulbrights: Director of the Public Safety Management Program and Associate Professor of Public Safety Management Craig Campbell won a Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program to study social sciences in China in summer 2013. Campbell will add the experience to his already impressive résumé, which includes two master’s degrees, a PhD and six years as the chief deputy for Travis County’s Sheriff Office.

Only 20 students are selected each year for the Thomas R. Pickering Undergraduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship, and our own Ashton Robison ’13 made the cut. The program, which prepares students to enter the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service, offers perks aplenty: financial support up to $40,000 annually for two years of school plus stipends for paid summer internships at the Department of State and a U.S. embassy overseas.

WELCOME, FATHER PETER Last fall, Father Peter Walsh, CSC, was named the new director of Campus Ministry. Walsh comes to the university from St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Viera, Fla., where he worked primarily in young-adult ministry. Previously, he spent five years in campus ministry at Yale University, where he combined beer brewing with theology.


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The Study of Love Associate Professor of Counseling Vagdevi Meunier works toward world peace one marriage at a time. By J. Victoria Sanders Skyrocketing divorce rates in India over the past 10 years have intrigued Associate Professor of Counseling Vagdevi Meunier, and not just because she grew up there. As women have started entering the workforce, the stigma attached to divorce has disappeared, says Meunier. Through a pending federal grant, Meunier intends to study the trend in India with the intention of linking it to the uptick in America’s divorce rate a few decades ago. “We learn a lot about our own past by looking at someone else’s present,” she says. Meunier’s interest in marriage and couples therapy began when she was working as a therapist in Massachusetts 20 years ago. “Over a span of 10 years, I kept meeting the barrier where the kids wouldn’t get better without the parents, and it was very clear that the marriage was affecting the child and the family,” she says. Meunier, who teaches about Eastern influences in psychology at St. Edward’s,

has applied for additional grants to conduct similar research on marriage and divorce from a global perspective. “We are more likely to achieve world peace if we can make connections between the lives of people in different cultures, so we can see that we all share the same challenges,” she says. “Even though the face of marriage is so different around the world, the struggles that two people [encounter] being in a stable, loving relationship that provides the container for children to grow up to become healthy adults is the same.” Her interest in studying marriages in India is closely related to her interest in developing a study-abroad program to take graduate students in counseling to India each year. She already has taken two groups, including one this January that studied holistic and alternative wellness methods and examined traditional mental health programs and training in India.

Meunier’s next step is to spend a semester in India conducting research on marriage, which she plans to do in Spring 2014. Along with graduate students in counseling, she will travel to different locations in India to interview couples and marriage therapists to understand how marital health is similar or different across different cultures. “You can understand your own experience by watching it somewhere else,” she says. “Marriages around the world in the privacy of the home have the same qualities, problems and dilemmas.”

Designing the Band For the past three years, students in Associate Professor of Communication Shannan Butler’s Visual Communication course have been imagining what music with an ’80s new-wave texture and hip-hop beats with speed-metal riffs sounds like. And then they’ve been designing it. Butler challenges his students to create cover art for the album of the much-buzzedabout debut of Austin-based Scheherazade Knights — a band that is nothing more than a figment of Butler’s imagination. The assignment tests the students’ skills with all three major Adobe design products, including Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, which Butler teaches in class. “I want to see how the students handle working for a client, which they know very

By Victoria Davis ’13, created in Spring 2012

By Gillian Shewega ’11, created in Spring 2011

little about except for musical style and a few random quotes from journalistic sources,” says Butler. “The assignment is really aimed to stretch the students’ creativity addressing a complicated concept.”

By Amelia Perches ’13, created in Spring 2012

We asked Butler to give us his top-three picks of album cover designs. We also asked for a sample of the band’s latest hit, but alas, all the band has managed to complete is the album cover. We think we’d like what we’d hear.


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The 10 Things No One Tells You About Coming Home When Leigh Anne Winger ’13 needed to find rice in her local grocery store, she asked for it in Spanish. Her question was returned with a strange look. Winger, who had just returned to the States from studying in northern Chile, apologized and asked again in English. Like Winger, many students who return after studying abroad experience reverse culture shock, the phenomenon of readjusting to one’s home country after living in another culture. We asked Winger to give us her 10 tips for avoiding the post-travel funk.

1 2 3

4 5 6 7 8 9

Remain a flexible traveler. Everyone tells you before you leave home to be flexible while traveling, but no one ever says anything about returning. Your flights will get delayed, customs will be awful and you will be sitting in an airport for hours at a time.

Everyone will speak English. Though this seems rather obvious, it will feel like a breath of fresh air — maybe. Life’s daily interactions will be much easier, but you will no longer have gratification knowing each day you are mastering a new language.

Know what to say. Everyone will want to hear about your adventure abroad — literally everyone. Think of a couple of your favorite things about your host country and one or two cultural differences, so you aren’t sitting there racking through this amazing experience telling the person, “Well, uh…it was good. I loved it.”

Do something crazy. That’s right — crazy. If you find yourself having a nonchalant attitude about your life at home after the initial reentry excitement has faded, then get out of your comfort zone.

Take time to decompress. Make sure that in the midst of sharing your wonderful experience with friends and family that you also take time to process the experience.

Watch your diet. Although that Texas BBQ may sound great, slowly integrate the foods that you have missed back into your diet. The last thing you want is to be sick for a week when you get home.

You will have to find inspiration. Upon returning, everything will seem rather familiar and that cultural growth that you experienced every moment of every day is no longer constant.

Keep in touch. Stay in touch with the people you met; they will be some of the few people who will understand the difficulties of your transition.

Share, but don’t over-share. You might find yourself talking about your experience abroad without even knowing it. Take time to share your experience, but keep in mind that it is your experience and not everyone wants to know every detail.

changed. 10 You’ve Last but not least, you will come back to the States an entirely different person. It isn’t a big deal — everyone changes. You may not fall easily into your “old life,” but be patient. Change is good.


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What I’ve Learned

Joanne Sanchez, professor of History and recipient of the 2011–2012 St. Edward’s University Distinguished Teaching Career Award As told to Eileen Flynn In 1979, when Joanne Sanchez finished her PhD in European and Latin American Histories at the University of Notre Dame, highereducation teaching positions were scarce. So she was thrilled to get an offer from St. Edward’s University — but there was an unexpected twist. Not only would she teach history, but she’d also be responsible for coordinating recruitment at New College, a degree program for working adults that was started five years earlier. It wasn’t exactly what Sanchez had imagined herself doing, but soon she was hooked. Non-traditional students, she discovered, bring a fascinating mix of experiences and knowledge to the classroom. And Sanchez happily found she was as much a student as a teacher. That joy of learning motivates her to stay fresh and take on new challenges, from teaching an online course in the 1990s to using a Lady Gaga music video to illustrate a point about the French Revolution. The goal, she says, is to keep her students — and herself — engaged. Here, she reflects on what teaching has taught her over the years. † An important thing I learned early on is to respect the students and what they know. I tell students at the beginning of the semester, “I learn from you every day.” I’m not the fount of all knowledge, and I think they appreciate that and respect that. † Last spring, I had two students who had been migrant workers taking my History of Mexican Americans class. When we were reading about migrant workers and the Chicano Movement, these students added some personal stories, which greatly enhanced and deepened our understanding of the topic. † I don’t lecture. The thing about adult students — and students in general — is they can’t sit there for three hours and listen to you read off old notes. They need to find the material relevant. Adults want their learning to be very practical and relate to the world. I try my best to make history relevant.

† One size does not fit all when it comes to teaching and learning. Some students are better visual learners, some better auditory learners and many learn more when they write things down. Because of this, I try to get as many senses involved in the learning experience as possible. I use numerous writing assignments. I like to use documentaries, images and PowerPoint presentations for those who are mostly visual learners; I like to have students orally engage in the class for those who are more auditory learners and because it helps those who are afraid to speak in public to learn to express themselves in a non-threatening atmosphere. † Each time I teach a class, I try to choose a new textbook, article or documentary to refresh my perspective on the subject. I enjoy everything I teach.

† A few years ago, I read about Wikis. I started to use that as an option for students to present their papers — a research paper as a Wiki. It makes the history livelier. You can do interdisciplinary things with them. It’s not just this standard research paper. 7

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A World Without Water

By summer’s end in 2011, Texas had suffered the worst drought in the state’s recorded history. Parched creek beds and scorched grass marred the landscape. And over Labor Day weekend, wildfires destroyed hundreds of Bastrop County homes and thousands of acres of piney woods. For Charles Porter MLA ’07, an instructor of History, the devastation served as a grim reminder of how precarious a situation Texas faces when it comes to water. Porter is an expert on the history of water rights, and he’d like to engage more Texans on the importance of conserving this essential resource. “It is the secret to life on earth,” he says. “And we need to better understand it. And we need to better respect it.” Porter can talk groundwater, surface water, brackish water, the Spanish colonial system versus English common law and more. He understands the struggles faced by the rancher in West Texas, who faces a total lack of water due to drought, and the high-rise developer in Houston, who deals with low-quality water and high sewagetreatment costs. And his message is critical: Texas cannot meet the water demands that continued population growth will bring. “Without water,” Porter says, “cities can’t exist. And we’ve been told we’re running out of water in Texas.”

By Eileen Flynn

“[Water] is the secret to life on earth, and we need to better understand it. And we need to better respect it.” Texans can start conserving water at home by taking shorter showers and turning off the tap when brushing their teeth. But, Porter says, they should also pursue long-term strategies such as funding desalination plants, creating reservoirs and — one of his least popular suggestions — raising rates consumers pay for water. Current rates, Porter says, don’t fully support existing infrastructure, much less investments in sustainable water infrastructure, such as new water treatment plants, distribution lines and storage facilities. St. Edward’s, Porter says, is taking a “quiet lead” on local and global water issues by encouraging personal water conservation, investing in landscaping that uses more drought-tolerant plants and educating students on water-policy issues. He hopes Texans will follow the university’s approach to problem solving that takes into account their moral obligations and the consequences of their actions.


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The Cancer Detective

Linda Armstrong examines the human genome for clues on how to prevent cancer. By Lisa Thiegs Last summer, Linda Armstrong ’13 (right) had the chance to participate in lab research for a cause close to her heart. And though she worked on only two variants out of millions in the human genome, she hopes her small part in the research will someday have a big impact on the prevention of colorectal cancer. Armstrong, a Biology major, spent the summer conducting research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston as a research fellow with the National Cancer Institute. She teamed up with a scientist researching genome variants in colorectal-cancer patients. Armstrong has a personal interest in the subject: At age five, she lost her mother to colorectal cancer. As she got older, she became more curious about the disease and decided it was an area of study she’d like to pursue. “I think of this as ‘me-search’ rather than ‘research,’” Armstrong says. “I’m kind of doing it for myself, but I see the greater impact of helping wipe this disease out for everybody. I have an understanding of what this does to families, and I don’t want my family or others to have to go through it.” Her passion for the subject matter made her eager to get to the lab every day, where she spent her time sequencing and identifying the genome SNPs — pronounced “snips,” which stands for singlenucleotide polymorphisms — to see how they varied. Then she and the lab staff used statistics to see if the variants were related to anything specific, like the age of onset. They identified the SNPs and predicted the risk and correlation to cancer. “This kind of research is ongoing because there are so many variables in the human genome,” says Armstrong. “The point is to compile a large risk model for people who think they might be more susceptible to [cancer].” The findings could help indicate what an individual’s risk would be during a routine screening. It’s a more personalized approach to medicine that’s growing throughout the field, she adds. “We hope to be able to tell patients if they’re likely to get a certain cancer and help them take precautions to avoid it — or to help catch the cancer early and treat it successfully,” Armstrong says. This wasn’t her first foray into the research realm: A neuroscience research project at St. Edward’s in summer 2011 with Fidelma O’Leary, associate professor of Biology, helped prepare her for the lab environment, as did a Cytopathology course, which had an emphasis on cervical cancer. “I had a clear understanding of the screening processes for cancers, so when I was at MD Anderson discussing incidences of cancers, I had some foundation to relate that knowledge to,” says Armstrong. In addition to counting 6,000 microscopic worms during her oncampus research experience, Armstrong began to master experimental design, various lab techniques, research methods, diligent record keeping — and patience. She also honed her presentation and grant-writing skills, all of which served her well at MD Anderson.

“I was not afraid to go in the lab, get my hands dirty and try new things,” says Armstrong. “In research, you have to be really patient because it doesn’t work a lot of the time.” In the case of her research at MD Anderson, though, it did work. When the summer research experience ended, Armstrong and her team saw a correlation between the variants and a specific age of onset from cancer, which jibes with previous research. Though it seems daunting that millions more variants need to be examined, Armstrong was pleased to have contributed — and to confirm to herself that she does, indeed, want to practice in the field, most likely as a genetic counselor. “Anyone can pick a job, but when you have a passion for it, it’s much easier,” she says.


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The Curator’s Choice Paula Marks steps out of the classroom and into the museum gallery to tell the tales of Texas women who made their mark on the state’s history. By Lisa Thiegs

Brian John ’13 captured this image of Shirley Shumake, who is a rancher in Bowie County. John and Mike Vecchio ’15 interviewed Shumake for inclusion in the “Enduring Women” exhibit.

Enduring Women The conversation on Texas women continues with a companion exhibit called “Enduring Women.” Visitors will be taken on a journey to rural areas, and will experience the stories of female farmers and ranchers from all over the state who survived natural disasters and made sacrifices to save their livelihoods. The exhibit opens in February and runs through May 19. With oversight and ongoing participation from Professor of Photocommunications Bill Kennedy, Associate Professor of Art History Mary Brantl and Instructor of History Charles Porter MLA ’07 offered a course this fall for students to develop some of the oral histories used in the exhibit. Selected students did archival background research, prepared interview scripts and conducted interviews. They also worked on photo shoots and managed copyright issues. “This is professional work,” Brantl says. “For many, it will be material for a portfolio or résumé. Students can demonstrate their abilities on a new level.”

In the exhibit on Texas women that Professor of American Studies Paula Marks developed, you won’t find celebrities who hailed from Texas but made their names in other parts of the country. You will, however, find the stories of a fourth-generation West Texas rancher. You can follow the journey of two women who worked tirelessly to preserve the Alamo. You can read about a group of five female politicians elected to the Texas legislature in 1972. These are just a few of the components of a special exhibit called “Women Shaping Texas in the 20th Century” that runs through May 19 at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin. “Political activity becomes central at points, but our story is so much broader than that,” explains Marks, the guest curator for the exhibit. “The whole idea is that women moved more fully into public life over the decades and shaped Texas in many ways.” Starting in August 2011, Marks began sorting through 100 years of Texas history to find examples of women making change in seven spheres of life: health, education, civil rights, the workforce, democratic participation, the arts, and historic conservation and preservation. Although she had help from other historians and community leaders, it was a challenge to choose among the many stories of women making a difference. “The section on business and professional women was probably the hardest part, because there was only room for 12,” Marks says. “I tried to vary the stories, and some can’t be included because they don’t fit the mix. It’s a process of trying to find women who help tell the story in ways that complement the whole.” Once she determined which women to feature, she began building the exhibit around them. “It’s like putting a puzzle together,” notes Marks. “We had to see what kind of documentation and visual possibilities were available. The Bullock is a non-collecting museum, so everything it has is borrowed. The story comes before the artifacts. Other museums start with the artifacts, and the story is built around them.” The exhibit features a large portrait by Santa Barraza, a Latina artist from Kingsville who uses borderlands themes and images in her work. There’s also a bowl made by Paul Revere that Ima Hogg, a philanthropist and daughter of a Texas governor, collected and gave to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Another artifact came from San Antonio civil rights leader Maria Hernandez: a platter presented to her when she traveled to Mexico City in the ’40s as a representative for a number of civil-rights organizations. Marks, who teaches a Texas history class, engaged her students as she curated the exhibit by allowing them to research the people or themes for their final project. They also learned how visitors experience a museum — for instance, what they read or don’t read. She hopes that visitors keep the discussions going even after they have left the museum. “I want women to talk to their mothers and grandmothers. I want families to have conversations about what it was like to be a young woman during World War II or what it was like to be a young woman in the ’60s — really making connections across time,” Marks says. Marks was interviewed by KUT in December 2012 on her role in the exhibit. To listen, go to


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Service for a Smile

Matthew Norris ’12 volunteers 40 hours a week in south Chicago. He lives on $100 a month. And he wouldn’t have it any other way. By Stacia Hernstrom MLA ’05


Matthew Norris ’12 and his friend John have a lot in common: middleclass backgrounds. College degrees. Strong faiths. Good jobs. Except John, a recovering alcoholic, is homeless. Norris got to know him through an internship with the Trinity Center in Austin. Through conversations with John and other homeless Austinites, Norris realized something big: “Most of the time, there was very little difference between them and me. If something happened to me — mental illness, terminal illness, disease — the only thing preventing me from becoming homeless is a family willing to take me in,” he says. “The people I worked with just did not have someone.” Norris’ family showed him how powerful serving others can be from the time he was in kindergarten. Throughout his childhood, he watched his parents volunteer at their church, where they organized vacation bible school and introduced interested adults to Catholicism. “My need to serve stems from my family,” he says. “I’m empathetic, and I get that from my mom. For us, there is definitely a spiritual side to volunteering.” At Archbishop Hoban High School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, Norris put his parents’ example into action. He coached people with disabilities, spending many a Saturday at the bowling alley teaching them the sport (and how to eventually beat him). When he was a senior, the Holy Cross Brothers at the school introduced him to St. Edward’s University and helped him see that going to college 1,300 miles from home would be “an adventure” — an irresistible opportunity to continue learning and serving. Able to attend St. Edward’s through grants like the Charity and Faith in Action Endowed Scholarship, Norris majored in Sociology and minored in Psychology. As a student, he worked as a resident assistant for three years, served on the Student Court of Appeals and participated in a weeklong Alternative Spring Break trip in Denver. Now, he’s halfway through a yearlong volunteer position at One Million Degrees, a Chicago nonprofit that helps college students whose socioeconomic status and at-risk background threaten their goals of graduating and finding work. As a volunteer at OMD, Norris works 40-plus hours a week with his caseload of students. He helps them find tutors, mentors and scholarships. He connects them with relevant workshops and classes, like financial planning and business etiquette. And he stays in touch with texts and phone calls — for his benefit as much as theirs. “More often than not, I learn from the people I serve,” he says. “They teach me humility, simplicity and, typically, something I never knew about myself. The different stories they bring, the challenges they face and the opportunity I have to make an impact in their lives are great motivation.” Norris’ year of service ends in June. And then what? Maybe more service, maybe a master’s degree, he says: “In all honesty, I am open to wherever God leads me.”

Matthew Norris (left) was able to attend St. Edward’s in part because of the scholarships he received, most notably the Charity and Faith in Action Endowed Scholarship, which was established more than 20 years ago through the fundraising efforts of faculty member Sister Madeleine Sophie Weber, IHM. Thanks to the ongoing support of faculty and staff, and the longevity of the university’s endowment, the scholarship continues to exist today. You can support students like Norris who are changing their world through service to others at


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St. Edward’s University students are doing all kinds of interesting things outside the classroom as a result of what they’re learning in the classroom. But to really understand these amazing experiences, you need to step into their shoes. As told to Erin Peterson

St. Edward’s University students spend plenty of time hitting the books. But just as important as the tests they take and papers they write are the remarkable and inspiring things they do as a result of their education. In the past year alone, students have produced an album of their award-winning hip-hop music, helped HIV patients in Kenya and tracked down white-collar criminals. But instead of sharing their accomplishments with overused superlatives (It was great! I loved it! I am changed forever!), we asked what those experiences were really like. Their experiences might end up as a single line on their résumés, but here, these students share the ways their adventures have been far messier, nuanced and joyful than they ever could have imagined.



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PRODUCE A HIP-HOP ALBUM The Shoe String Theory, the first album produced by hip-hop musician Megan Tillman ’14, came out in 2012. Download it for free at

I like to write poetry, and when you put it with a beat, you get hiphop. For a long time, I was just getting free beats online to go with the words. But you can only go so far with that. My freshman year, I hooked up with Chris Beale ’12, who created beats for me. He puts sounds together — the kicks, high hats. It’s his own thing. When I started getting my own beats from Chris, I knew I could take my music wherever I wanted. The sky was the limit. I’d been performing live, but booking agents want to hear you before they book you. And I wanted to build a fan base. You can do mix tapes for free, but an album sounded so official. We spent months on the album. I was writing and writing; he was getting the beats together. And then we had three days to get down to my dad’s place in Houston, which has a studio, to pump everything out. Performing live compared to performing in a studio is like the difference between being in a play and being in a movie. Performing live, the pressure is on, but it’s natural, it’s raw, you can change things up. It’s flexible. But in the studio, you do take after take, trying to make everything perfect. The biggest challenge of putting out an album? Honestly, my dad. We’re both music heads, so we’re both trying to tell each other what we think. We bump heads. But he tries to help me in any way he can. Having an album out, a final product, is a great feeling. Saying you’re going to do something and actually doing it are two different things, and I take a lot of pride in seeing it completed now.

Kristina Schenck ’13, an Environmental Science and Policy major, spent the summer learning about natural resource management as a wilderness ranger in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness as part of an internship program with the U.S. Forest Service.

The Boundary Waters are a different kind of wilderness than you typically see in the United States because there is so much water. There are gentle, rolling landscapes, beautiful pine and aspen trees, and lots and lots of green. But it’s literally not possible to explore the area without a kayak or canoe. You wouldn’t be able to get around. Canoeing is a beautiful way to travel. It’s a smooth ride, and while you may be focused on paddling, you can look around and see everything around you. The fish jump around you, bugs skim across the water and you can often see wildlife on the shoreline. It’s not like hiking, where you can’t see much except the trees around you. Not everything is that beautiful, though. I dug a lot of latrines — holes that were three or four feet deep, until we hit bedrock — with only a hand shovel. It can take four hours, and sometimes, while we were digging, we’d find a huge 70-pound boulder sticking out of the side of the hole. There’s a lot of strategizing when that happens. And, of course, you have to “naturalize” the old hole by filling it with dirt and maybe planting a tree on top. It’s gross, I guess. But you get desensitized to it. You just kind of hold your breath and tell yourself it’s just another day on the job. 13

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PREVENT DISASTER Jimmy Johnson ’13, a Public Safety Management major, is the emergency preparedness coordinator at the University of Texas–Austin and recently presented a paper on sports-venue threats at the Texas Emergency Management Conference.

Six times a year, Texas Memorial Stadium hosts football games where we have more than 100,000 people in attendance. We want people to come to the game and have a wonderful experience, but we also want them to have a safe experience. That process starts well outside the stadium. Even if a fan walks from a parking spot just two blocks away from campus, they’ll pass five or six different areas where we have law-enforcement checkpoints. They’re saying hello to everybody with smiles on their faces, but they’re also being our eyes and ears. People often assume we’re always thinking about high-profile concerns, like active shooters, but the highest probability threat that we face is inclement weather, from thunderstorms to tornadoes. For something like that, we would try to shelter fans in place [in the bowels] of the stadium, rather than evacuate. But we do know, because of our size and television coverage, we could be considered a target of opportunity. As part of our comprehensive planning, I’ve taken about a thousand photos of every nook and cranny in the stadium. Our university police department is a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. On game day, we have team members from the FBI on-site, who will let us know if there’s any specific chatter about risks. In 2011, for example, we ramped up around September 11 — not because of a specific concern, but we try to be proactive. We have a closed-circuit television system and an emergency text alert system. The fans help us, too. We have a text line that anybody can use [if something is amiss], and we can send law enforcement over to them quickly. It takes an army of 5,000 people to run a game-day operation. But we don’t want you to know that. We want you to come and have a good time. 14

Judy Velazquez ’13 studied gender-based violence among HIVpositive women at a clinic at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi. Kenya. Gender-based violence is a global problem that refers to the physical, emotional and sexual abuse of the survivor.

When my co-researcher and I arrived in Kenya, we assumed we would be doing the interviews with HIV-positive women. But because we were foreigners, the women didn’t trust us, and there was a language barrier. We hired two local research assistants to administer the questionnaire we developed. For every one questionnaire I completed, our native researchers completed three. I had a lot of assumptions before I arrived. I thought HIV was a death sentence, but it’s really not. People are born with it, or they contract it and live with it for years. I could not tell who was HIVpositive just by looking at them, and that’s due to the medication they take to survive. I was in Africa for three months, and to this day, I can’t tell who does and doesn’t have HIV unless I am told. My work may sound depressing because of what my research was about — and Nairobi pretty much tops the list of cities you never want to live in because of the crime. But my time in Kenya was not to have a vacation or enjoy the scenery. Our project was about awareness. Gender-based violence is a problem faced not only by many female Kenyans but also by women all over the world. I spent my summer in what is considered the worst city in the world studying a subject that many may find upsetting. When people ask me if I would do it again, I say “yes” in a heartbeat.


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CATCH A CRIMINAL After taking a fraud and forensic accounting class and eventually becoming a certified fraud examiner, Toni Lusk MBA ’12 spent a year tracking down white-collar criminals at Sage Investigations, a private fraud-investigation firm.

Forensic accounting is just starting to get noticed. Enron brought it to the forefront, and there are starting to be more high-profile cases of financial fraud. I’ve worked on cases where a mom-and-pop grocery store had an employee cash $25,000 in fake checks. I’ve worked on divorce cases where people tried to hide assets or steal money. With forensic accounting, you’re always thinking backward and trying to recreate what happened. And eventually, you hope to find that one transaction that makes everything crumble. There’s usually that one mistake that causes a domino effect, and then everything unravels. It might look normal to an outsider, but when you’re looking for it, it may end up being the linchpin. When I realize I might be onto something, I don’t scream and jump up and down, because you’ve got to be so careful and follow everything out to the end. It’s a case of grinding and grinding away for hours on end. Even a short case can take a month or more. When I tell people what I do, they usually say it sounds so exciting. But I have to laugh. I’m not at the crime scene. I’m an accountant. Fraud is something people don’t like to talk about. It’s embarrassing. When they find out they might have been ripped off or stolen from, they feel humiliated. They want you to find it, but once you do, they’re not sure what to do with it. Often, the people who steal or embezzle from them are people they’ve trusted. Accounting is my first love, but I think everybody wants to be a superhero — to catch the bad guys and do the right thing.

Matt Wolski ’13 spent the summer of 2011 at Stanford University studying how Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a type of algae, responds to stresses from different metals, including phosphate. He’s continued to work on the project at St. Edward’s.

A lot of people ask me why anyone cares about the way that algae respond to stresses. Well, for one thing, as people look for alternative fuel sources, algae may be very important. We’re trying to learn as much as we possibly can so maybe one day we can tie all the pieces together and use it for something much bigger. I wasn’t actually working in a lab every day; I was working at a computer. Typically, I would get some data, and my job was to take all the information and break it down into things we could understand by writing and running different kinds of programs. The amount of data I would get was huge — the files were up to 50 gigabytes of information. To put that in perspective, I have 14 GBs of music on my phone, and that’s about seven full days of songs. My job was a lot of typing. I won’t lie: There were days that it was pretty monotonous. But there were also eureka moments. At one point, I spent a couple weeks doing work — eight hours a day, with nothing tangible to show for it — to see if we could find some specific details in our data. We had no idea if there would be a light at the end of the tunnel, but when we finally pumped out a table and saw exactly what we were hoping we would see, we were really happy. Now with the data we have, we can start seeing a bigger picture of what’s going on with these organisms. And that’s really exciting. 15

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Months before a show opens at Mary Moody Northen Theatre, the work begins. Fake turkeys are constructed, wigs are coifed and scenes are blocked. Here’s how the cast and crew bring a play to life. By Lauren Liebowitz | Photos by Jessica Attie



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“It’s rainin’ men, hallelujah…” On the Mary Moody Northen Theatre stage, four young women sing. Some are in costume, others wear sweatshirts to ward off the cold. The theater is freezing without an audience of warm bodies, but the actors still give it their all until Stage Manager Bill McMillan dismisses them from warm-ups. The cast — eight students and two local Actors’ Equity Association professionals — finish a few last stretches and vocal exercises before heading toward their dressing rooms. It’s the night before the St. Edward’s University theater production of Under Construction opens. For the first time in his stage career, Director David Long is excited instead of nervous before a play. He takes a seat, jumps up and paces to the other side of the theater, like a child waiting for Christmas. Backstage, the male cast members wait in their dressing room. “Man circle?” someone asks, a long-running St. Edward’s tradition. The actors gather and hold hands. For 30 seconds, they silently focus on the show. “Ten minutes,” the stage manager announces. The lights dim. The actors sprint to their positions. “Places, please, for the top of the show!” shouts McMillan. In the darkness, actors wheel benches and tables into place. The lights reveal a picture-perfect family from the 1950s over Thanksgiving dinner. A bell dings.

“Amen,” the father says. The play begins. Seventy minutes and 22 scenes later, the actors gather around a family dinner table that recalls the first scene, this time with a bucket of fried chicken and paper plates. The lights cut again. “The End” is projected on the viewing screens. Nobody moves. A clap of thunder, the chorus from “It’s Raining Men” and then the actors laugh, breaking the spell. Long is on his feet again, directing the single unfinished part of the production — curtain call. “Everybody bows,” he says, “then we’re off.” At Mary Moody Northen Theatre, students work alongside guest artists from around the country under the University/Resident Theatre Association agreement with the Actors’ Equity Association. This means that when students graduate, many have already earned points toward Actors’ Equity membership, which can give them an edge in auditions. Whether students aspire to act, direct or work behind the scenes, the program prepares them with a well-rounded understanding of theater: They perform, build sets and props, and even work the box office. Here, we take you behind the scenes of Under Construction, the first production of the theater’s 40th anniversary season. Mary Moody Northen Theatre is a theater-in-the-round without a traditional backstage, but one can still slip behind the metaphorical curtain for a closer look at creating a professional show like this one.


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PRE-PRODUCTION Work on Under Construction began well before the start of the Fall 2012 semester, even earlier than most shows at the Mary Moody Northen Theatre because of the play’s complexity. From scouring thrift shops for costumes to visiting local salvage yards for props like steering wheels (which wound up being built from scratch instead), it’s the groundwork that sets the stage, so to speak, for the actors to come later.


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1 Lara Hincapie ’14, assistant scenic designer, built this to-scale replica of the stage to test the show’s design components before construction on the full-size pieces began. Under Construction transitions between scenes through the movement of wheeled set pieces, including this assortment of chairs, a doorway and a fence. 2 During the opening Thanksgiving scene, some props, such as this turkey, are artificial, while others, such as a basket of dinner rolls, are edible. Props Mistress Rachel McGee is responsible for sourcing the pieces and determining what needs to be built by her student team. This production includes hundreds of individual props. 3 To organize the more than 100 costumes featured in Under Construction — no easy task — cast and crew rely on personalized tags. The show spans several decades, and costumes include ’50s letter jackets and ’80s prom dresses. 4 Students working in the costume shop alter borrowed or secondhand costumes, like the dress pictured here, and construct new ones. 18


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BEFORE THE SHOW To bring a show to life, actors must be at the top of their game, especially for a demanding show with more than 20 scenes. Catch a glimpse of life for the cast as they prepare to go onstage.


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5 Actors can take their time putting on their first costumes, but once the show starts, the tempo picks up. Under Construction calls for breakneck costume changes between scenes (assisted by dressers). Other costume changes, called dissolves, occur in full view of the audience. A dedicated quick-change rehearsal allows the cast and crew to choreograph costume changes before performances start. 6 Actors apply their own makeup and sometimes fix their own hair. Lindsley Howard ’12 puts the finishing touches on her wig for the opening scene. 7 Actors warm up before rehearsals and performances with physical and vocal exercises, then run through every musical piece in the play. In the case of Under Construction, that means one full song-and-dance piece and a few shorter interludes. 19

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DRESS REHEARSAL It all comes together the week before opening night: tech rehearsals, dress rehearsals and finally the preview. Running through the whole play gives the team multiple chances to work out the kinks so everything runs smoothly during the first performance.




8 Behind the scenes, actors are supported by approximately 10 people each, from stage managers to makeup artists to lighting and sound designers. 9 Director David Long’s (right) involvement with the play began almost six months before the production, starting with choosing which scenes out of dozens to include. Once tech rehearsals are done, he prefers to trust his cast and crew, including Stage Manager Bill McMillan (left), to bring his vision to life. 10 Designing audio for a play includes the obvious, such as running microphones for an ensemble of singers. It also involves what an audience might take for granted: amplifying or recreating the sounds we hear in real life. 11 Most lighting work must wait until tech rehearsals begin. With its many different scenes, Under Construction required three whole days to test and refine the lighting because the director approves every cue. 12 For this play, the actors move set pieces (such as these tables and benches on wheels) between scenes. 13 Lighting an abstract play such as this one poses a unique challenge because it spans six decades — warm, “Norman Rockwell” lighting for the 1950s and sharper, more colorful lights for the modern era.



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webextra THEATER ON THE SCREEN So what types of jobs do Theater Arts alumni land? Check out our slideshow of notable alums to find out. You can also see Under Construction come to life with a clip from the show at

CELEBRATING 40 YEARS: MARY MOODY NORTHEN THEATRE For the past four decades, Mary Moody Northen Theatre has hosted established and up-and-coming theater professionals, onstage and off. Generations of Hilltoppers who got their start here have gone on to great things in New York, California and around the world. This year, we’re pulling out all the stops, from Shakespeare to American realism, to celebrate our 40th anniversary. Under Construction may be over, but the season is still going strong. Don’t miss William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure (Feb. 14–24), Oscar Wilde’s classic The Importance of Being Earnest (April 11–21) or the magical, Tony Award–winning musical The Secret Garden (June 13–30). Learn more and buy tickets at, or call the MMNT box office at 512-448-8484.


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Where does religion end and culture begin? It’s a tricky question, as a group of St. Edward’s University students discovered last summer during an immersive adventure through Thailand and Malaysia. By Joel Hoekstra | Photography by Joe Vitone To Americans, a monk in an orange sash is more startling than a priest in a Roman collar. The sheen of a silk hijab can prompt questions about women’s rights under Islam, while the glint of a gold cross around someone’s neck rarely evokes the crucifixion. Religion and culture are commonly interwoven, yet we’re often blind to their fusion if they’re our own. Father Louis Brusatti, associate professor of Religious Studies, believes St. Edward’s students could benefit from some contrast — visiting a place where many religions and cultures mix and mingle in the streets, a region half a world away from Texas. Last summer, Brusatti (or “Father Lou” as he’s known on campus) flew to Penang, Malaysia, to meet with 10 St. Edward’s students who had just completed an eight-week program in Japan with Professor of Photocommunciations Joe Vitone. The students studied Japanese culture, language and documentary photography. The students and Brusatti were joined by Japanese students from Asia Pacific University and a small group from Catholic University of Korea. Together, the three groups made a culturally diverse gang of 26. Brusatti wanted the students to see firsthand how religion and culture rub off on each other, softening and shaping the hard edges of tradition and practice. In Penang, at Walailak University in Thailand and again in Bangkok, local lecturers helped students interpret their new surroundings, but for the most part, the world was their classroom, offering lessons that weren’t on any syllabus. From the start, Brusatti was certain the students would gain insights simply from immersion. St. Edward’s University Magazine asked Brusatti and three students to give us a crash course in religion and culture. Here, they take us along as they connect with host families, visit temples and mosques, and eat yikes-that’s-spicy cuisine in Southeast Asia.


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Please Stow Your Tray Tables As the group unpacked their suitcases at the Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang, they prepared to enter another world. The days that followed involved lectures, temple and mosque visits, public transportation, and time for reflection after supper. Brusatti: We were looking primarily at Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. We hoped that by immersing students in cultures where those religions are practiced and vibrant, they would come away with a better understanding of those traditions than they might while sitting in a classroom in Austin, watching a few videos. Danielle Dalton ’13: I’ve always been interested in religion, but it was really cool studying the topic in Thailand and Malaysia because we were experiencing things in a hands-on way. Olivia Swales ’14: I didn’t grow up in a particularly religious household, but one of my neighbors growing up was a really devout Hindu woman. She always gave me books about world religions, so it’s always been something that has drawn my attention. Dalton: In Thailand, there were monks everywhere. People wore amulets. It was as if you couldn’t even separate religion and culture. Swales: We went during Ramadan. During our travels in Malaysia, many of the restaurants were closed until the sun went down. Once the sun set, Muslims could eat their evening meal, iftar, after fasting all day. Brusatti: You begin with a little bit of the history of the country and lessons on how the religion came to thrive there. Then you move on to the particulars of the religion. What are the basics of that belief framework and how does it express itself in the life of the culture?


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Incense and Anger Site visits offered students a rare glimpse inside the worlds of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. But treading on holy ground could be both a privilege and a problem — as one instance of cultural misunderstanding demonstrated.

How Do You Say... Working together often proved challenging as the American, Korean and Japanese students sought not only to communicate with each other but also to understand the cultural differences that separated them. Brusatti: We had mixed groups of students from the United States, Korea and Japan. They had to deal with the intercultural communication piece as students working in a group, and they were immersed into two very different cultures than their own. Ashton Ebenhoeh ’13: In my group, there were four Japanese people, one international student from Mexico, one Korean and me. Ours was the most diverse group — and we all had different ways of dealing with things. It took longer for meetings because we all had different styles. The Japanese students, for example, liked to have meetings, but no one would take charge. It seemed indecisive and seemed to take too long. In Americanstyle meetings, someone will decide what needs to get done, and that will get done. Brusatti: I think I was a little amazed that the Koreans and the Japanese, for example, had little understanding of Thailand or Malaysia. We were all thrown into this new cross-cultural mix that was fascinating to observe.

Brusatti: Our site visits were usually to well-established temples and mosques. For example, we went to a Muslim mosque for Friday prayer in Penang. It was a relatively small neighborhood mosque. The Imam, the leader of the mosque, talked with the students about what they’d be observing during prayer and answered questions for 20 minutes or so before people started gathering. What was nice about this particular mosque was that the Imam was fine with us being in the mosque, observing, and talking to people and taking photographs. Swales: I think the most memorable moment of the trip was the day we went to a Buddhist temple that was influenced by Hinduism and Taoism. Part of it was outdoor, part indoor, and there was a stage where people could make offerings to whichever god they believed in. There were birds being released from little cages as offerings and incense burning. It was so colorful. It was interesting to see all three traditions coexisting. Ebenhoeh: We went to a floating mosque. It was picture-perfect. It was on the ocean, and my group had the chance to see it at sunset. We were allowed to go in, but my female classmates had to wear the hijab and cover up every part of their bodies. Some members were taken aback by that. At one point, a male member of our group who didn’t know any better touched a Muslim female. In Islam, that’s forbidden: A woman shouldn’t be touched by a man. But he didn’t comprehend why. He was shocked. You could tell she was uncomfortable and didn’t know how to react.


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Be Our Guest Students spent two days in Thailand with local families, getting an up-close view of life in a typical home. It wasn’t easy. It was often uncomfortable (most of the homes lacked American-style plumbing, for example). But hospitality and gratitude made those days some of the most memorable of the trip. Brusatti: None of the students spoke Thai. And none of the families spoke English, Japanese or Korean. So, for the most part, they had to communicate without the benefit of language. Swales: The home I stayed in was pretty typical of rural Thailand. On the front of the house there was a convenience store that sold snacks, drinks and tobacco. It was run by my host mother, her sister and their mother. Everyone slept in the same room on a thin mat. There were open windows, no air conditioning. Even though my host family couldn’t speak a word of English, on the last night we all sat together in a circle and made origami and arts and crafts. It was our only way to communicate, but it was nice because it showed that you don’t always need words to connect with another person.

Dalton: It’s me and a Japanese student. We don’t speak any Thai, and we’re lodged with this family. We can’t really communicate with them except by me making weird faces. But one of the days they took us to this temple. It was all open, we had to take off our shoes — I’m wearing clunky Doc Marten boots — and we go into the temple space and we’re kneeling. There are Buddhists chanting in Thai. They’re varying ages, with shaved heads and orange robes. There were stray dogs all around, people rolling up on their motorcycles. It was weird but cool. It was really different from Mass or anything like that.

webextra A CAMERA’S-EYE VIEW OF JAPAN Ten students traveled to Beppu, Japan, in Summer 2012 to complete a documentary photography project with Professor Joe Vitone. View a narrated slideshow of Japanese life and culture — we’ve got fresh fish and the red-light district — at


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Curry, Coconuts and Cancellations All trips — especially ones of this magnitude — have their ups and downs. This journey was no exception. Brusatti: I think a couple of the students were surprised at the number of Starbucks. They’re everywhere. They almost seem to be more pervasive than McDonald’s. I was equally surprised by the number of Starbucks. Ebenhoeh: In America, we have ethnic food, but it’s all Americanized. Over there, it’s authentic — and a lot better. Dalton: Our first night in southern Thailand, we went to a restaurant, and I said, I want to eat something spicy. And the staff said, “Are you sure?” They were like, “Alright, white girl, are you sure you can handle this?” So I got some fish curry, and it was the spiciest thing I’ve ever eaten. I was crying because it was so good! And then I got fresh coconut ice cream that was actually in a coconut shell. Then, we got the bill after all that food, and it was about $2. Are you kidding me? Why would I ever leave? Brusatti: We were scheduled to fly to Bangkok on Air Asia. We checked in and were sitting and waiting in the airport when they canceled the flight. Apparently the woods around the airport were on fire. They couldn’t take off because of the smoke! So we called the university where we’d been staying and they sent vans to pick us up. We all thought we were going back to campus to stay at the guesthouse one more night. That would’ve been fine, but that wasn’t what happened. They bussed us to a very nice hotel that was close to the city, and Air Asia paid for our stay. This is an airline that knows how to treat people!

A Global Perspective On Aug. 18, 2012, after traveling for more than two weeks, the three groups of students parted ways, heading home via Bangkok International Airport. The lessons of the trip were just beginning to sink in. Brusatti: At the beginning of the trip, I asked all the students to write a definition of religion and a definition of culture. The responses were pretty theoretical and pretty Western. For the most part, the St. Edward’s students came with a Christian orientation. By the end of the study trip, they were asking about very specific things, including: How do Muslim women see themselves in relationship to the hijab? Or in relationship to men? They were asking more ethnographic questions. They were asking questions about the relationship between religious ritual and architecture and economics. The project each intercultural group completed reflected these questions and new learning. Dalton: Everyone has this preconception that Islam is an extreme religion. But it’s not really. I always thought that the hijab and the burka were really restrictive for women. But we talked with one woman who said: “No, I wear this because I want to. It shows my faith.” She said that when she got married, her husband said, “You don’t have to wear that if you don’t want,” and she said, “No, I’m going to keep wearing it because I want to.” As with any religion, you can be really extreme about it or you can be really casual. Ebenhoeh: This trip made me think about religion in a different way. It made me see that religions have similarities. I hadn’t really considered that before. Brusatti: Hinduism exerts a significant influence on Buddhism — much more so than I had ever realized. While I knew this from a theoretical perspective, seeing it in practice was a little bit different. When I teach world religion next semester, I’ll teach it from a different perspective — a more acculturated perspective. In all, I think I learned as much as the students. One student told me, “I would never have learned this much while sitting in a classroom.” That’s what I was hoping all along. The course was a great success, and we will do it again this summer.


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Mike Shea ’89 is executive director of the legendary SXSW festival. St. Edward’s University Magazine gives you an inside look at Austin’s most famous event — and event planner. By Stacia Hernstrom MLA ’05

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Mike Shea ’89 has handled a canoe along 50 miles of the Brazos River during drenching storms. He has hiked through snow and over frozen streams in the Grand Tetons while watching for bears. And he’s done this all with a handful of teenage boys under his supervision. But surviving some of nature’s — and the Boy Scouts’ — toughest challenges with his two sons is nothing compared to the feat Shea accomplishes every March when some 60,000 people descend upon Austin for South by Southwest. The annual music, film and interactive conferences and festivals draw a crowd from 70-plus countries and pump more than $190 million into the local economy. And Shea is in charge of logistics. “It’s the stuff no one else wants to do,” he says humbly. But without that “stuff” — hotel contracts, meeting spaces, transportation, permits and security, to name a few — SXSW couldn’t happen. Though the events last only 14 days, Shea and his co-directors (along with a full-time staff of 110 or so) spend all year planning and preparing.

ALL QUIET ON THE SXSW FRONT Shea arrives at work an hour or two before everyone else. While many of the city’s commuters are searching for parking or ordering mango smoothies from the Whole Foods headquarters across the street, he walks through the dark hallways of the SXSW offices, past a gaggle of high-top tables shoved into a corner after a recent launch party, past a wall of films submitted by 5,000 hopeful moviemakers, past an enormous grid outlining the 10 venues used by the interactive portion of the festival alone. Still hopping from two strong cups of his favorite Third Coast Double French Roast, Shea settles into his office and returns emails and voice-mail messages. He goes over hotel contracts that he’s arranged through 2018 and references a calendar with SXSW dates through 2030. Occasionally, he gets up to stare at the mounted floor-to-ceiling schematics of Auditorium Shores, the Austin Convention Center and the Hilton, all leaning against one wall. These two quiet hours are the only time to prepare for the daily onslaught of meetings, meetings and more meetings. “As much as I might not want to spend most of my day in meetings,” he says, “the only way to make an event like this happen is to communicate.” On tap for this particular Monday is a 10 a.m. meeting on revamping the housing reservation system, then a 1 p.m. standing meeting with the registration and housing teams, followed by a 2 p.m. web meeting and a 4 p.m. conference call. On any given day, he might meet with someone from City Hall or the Convention & Visitors Bureau, hotel executives, concert-hall directors, or event planners from around the world, not to mention SXSW’s internal sales, marketing and accounting teams. After 20 years with SXSW, Shea knows the days of preparatory meetings come to an end all too soon. Time eventually runs out. “The good and bad thing about events is that they’re going to happen, whether you’re ready or not,” he says. “You just kind of ride the tiger once it starts moving.”


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EYE OF THE TIGER Shea does more than ride the tiger. He steers, directs and roars back when necessary, all with a calm demeanor and a clear head. “When considering a new project or element to SXSW, Mike will analyze each different way to approach a potential problem with myriad solutions,” says Darin Klein, SXSW’s comptroller. “If he were a pro football coach, I’d want him to be the one drawing up all of the Xs and Os.” Klein remembers a snafu years back when a local hotel overbooked during SXSW. No one realized it until guests from across the globe started hauling their suitcases to the counter to check in. That’s when Shea stepped in. “I’m not sure how he did it, but there was a problem one day, and the next day it was solved,” says Klein. “That was the last we heard about it.” Then there was the time Waterloo Park turned into a 10-acre mud puddle thanks to an overflowing Waller Creek just days before concerts scheduled there. Shea and his team decided to cover the park in hay. They called a local farm and asked how much they would need. “The farmer feeds hay to his animals,” says Shea. “He had no idea about blanketing a park.” So he and a colleague went back to the park and measured it step by step — “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9: one bale. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9: two bales. When you’re faced with a problem like that, you come up with the best solution you can,” says Shea. “And if there’s no empirical data to help, you go with your gut.”

For Shea, relying on instinct also means being frugal. “Frugality gets you through downturns and keeps you prosperous in good times,” Shea says. “Not to get all ‘I’ve seen ’em come, and I’ve seen ’em go’ — but, well, I have. Our cheap ways have helped keep us in business where others have failed.” He has a system. When deciding whether to spend festival funds, he and his team first brainstorm ways to get what they need for free. If that doesn’t pan out, they list the least expensive options. And if that doesn’t lead to a solution, they discuss if they really need whatever it is they’re considering. That’s how, one year, in the absence of an appreciable signage budget, laser-printed directional signage glued onto towers of white cardboard boxes ended up all around the convention center. “Did it look grade B? Probably,” says Shea. “Did it get the job done? Absolutely.”



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EASY BEING GREEN Shea and his fellow directors are committed to neutralizing SXSW’s impact on the environment. “We’re asking a lot of people to climb on planes and fly here — that’s a lot of jet exhaust, and that’s problematic,” he says. “We try to make everything as sustainable as possible.” That includes offering solar-powered cell-phone charging, setting up water-bottle refilling stations, collecting 2.34 tons of compost and 5.4 tons of recyclables from Auditorium Shores alone, and arranging for attendees to share 150 bikes — one of the country’s largest free-share bike programs. Shea initiated meetings with representatives from area hotels so they could share best practices. SXSW encourages sponsors to offer giveaways people actually want — T-shirts, beer, USB drives — instead of fliers that immediately get tossed in the trash. In October, they wrapped up the second annual SXSW Eco, a threeday gathering where business, nonprofit and academic experts discuss topics like “Life in the Street: Reclaiming Public Space” and “Digital Strategies for Environmental Guerrillas.” “Across the United States, the world, every company faces the same challenges of running a sustainable company,” says Shea. “Here, they all go back with something they can use.”

RINSE, REPEAT, REWARD That’s part of the satisfaction for Shea, the reason he gets excited year after year. “The biggest joy is knowing that 60,000 people came to Austin and learned something or had their film picked up or got a record deal or won the app competition,” he says. “Knowing I’m a part of that process is hugely rewarding.” Another perk? Meeting some of his heroes. Like Bruce Springsteen. Spike Lee. An “extremely nervous” Johnny Cash preparing to give his keynote. Little Richard, “who was just … Little Richard.” (And some who didn’t live up to his expectations: “One presenter was hugely egotistical — wait, I can’t tell that story,” he says.) “This job is a lot of things. Boring is not one of them,” he says. And it is just a job, albeit a really cool one. “For better or worse, there are challenges every day. What allows me to keep coming back is knowing how to manage my expectations. I do the best I can with what I’ve got,” he says. “At the end of the day, I close down my laptop, get in my car and go home, kiss my wife and kids, and have dinner — that’s what’s important.” Having a life outside the office has always been a priority. Just before his older son was born, he decided to go back to college (he’d dropped out before moving to Austin). He managed to juggle full-time SXSW responsibilities with a newborn and New College’s intricate portfolio process, where he earned credit for many of his life and work experiences. In just a year and a half, he graduated with a degree in Communications and a minor in English Writing and Rhetoric, all with a second son on the way. As his boys grew up, he helped lead their South Austin Boy Scouts troop (and protect them from those bears in Wyoming). He reviewed books for Texas Monthly for a decade — for fun. He loves the Boston Celtics and the Red Sox, just as he did growing up in Massachusetts. And for the past 18 years, he’s played in a weekly poker game with a handful of close friends (and Austin notables in their own right, like KUT Music Director Jeff McCord and his old boss, former Texas Monthly editor Evan Smith). At the poker table and away, “Mike is calm, unflappable — the opposite of reckless,” says Smith. “He’s extraordinarily deliberate and doesn’t like to leave anything to chance.” That’s unfortunate for his poker opponents. But for the thousands who flock to Austin each spring to see what he’s planned for them? It’s like hitting the jackpot.



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Wit for Hire

Love on the Links

Alan Cross ’92 has spent his career making people laugh, and he’s racked up five Emmy nominations as head writer and senior producer for VH1’s cult classic Pop Up Video. He is also co-author of WWWD (What Would W Do?), and his political humor has appeared in Slate Magazine, Cracked Magazine and Nylon Guys.

April Fields ’09 shares how the golf program at St. Edward’s led to love with fiancé Andrew Workman ’09.

As told to Hannah M. Hepfer

As told to Hannah M. Hepfer

St. Edward’s University Magazine asked Cross to share a few highlights from his career. I was head writer for Pop Up Video 13 years ago, and now I’m back as the senior producer working with young writers. I thought they’d look up to me with respect, but they’re like, “Who’s this old guy?” I “popped” five episodes of Jersey Shore, which involved interviewing the cast and hanging out in the show’s house in Seaside Heights. I asked Snooki where she wanted to be in 20 years, and she said, “I’ll be 44. That’s disgusting!” I was 44 at the time. I know much more about Jersey Shore than a man my age should. If you want to be a comedy writer, learn as much as you can about different topics, because you’ll have to write about everything from politics to pop culture. You need to be smart — the writers for the top late-night shows are Harvard graduates. My friends who are comedy writers are my smartest friends. I was a freelance writer for Saturday Night Live during the Tina Fey– Amy Poehler era. I submitted 15 jokes a week, and I found out if one of my jokes was chosen by watching the show. The pay was $100 per joke, which is pretty standard. The non-televised Emmys are not glamorous. The gift bags at the Academy Awards have a Rolex in them. Ours had a handmade oven mitt. I’m married to actress Melinda Wade. When our daughter Willa was eight weeks old, she appeared in a commercial and made $12,000. I looked at her one day and started to say, “You’ve never worked a day in your life.” Then I realized she had, and she made more than me.

Though Andrew and I both played golf at St. Edward’s, we didn’t meet until the end of our senior year. We were playing in a Meet the Members golf tournament at Grey Rock Golf Club, the university’s home course. The tournament gives club members the opportunity to meet collegiate golfers and raise money for the golf program at St. Edward’s. For this particular event, the men’s team was assigned to play with the club members, while the women’s team had individuals on par-3 holes hitting shots. The members paid $5 for a player on the women’s team to hit a shot they could use in the tournament. When Andrew’s group reached my hole, number 13, the members had the option of donating to the golf program if I hit a shot. Andrew hit his shot within seven feet of the hole, and he began to joke that his team probably wouldn’t need my shot since his was so close. But Andrew and his group wanted me to hit anyway and donate to the program. My shot landed within three feet of the hole. I think I had Andrew’s attention at that point. We began dating in March 2009 and moved to The Woodlands after graduation. Last July, Andrew suggested we visit Grey Rock to play a round of golf for old time’s sake. As we approached hole 13, Andrew hit his shot before me, just like that day back in 2009. I hit my shot, and when I turned around, he was down on one knee with a ring and proposed. It was where our relationship started, and he wanted to take our relationship to the next step in that very spot. We’re now members of The Woodlands alumni chapter because we enjoy helping others and lending an insider’s view of what life, collegiate athletics and academics are like at St. Edward’s. We have learned so much being a part of a team and finding each other during our college experience. Golf is a game that we’ll play for many years to come and use as a way to continue to grow with each other and keep our competitive spirit alive.

BIRTHS To Jennifer (O’Quinn) Linn ’93 and husband Wesley Black, son George Patrick on Dec. 16, 2011


MARRIAGES To Austin Landry ’09 and wife Sarah, daughter Mia Marie Anne on July 25, 2011

To Natalia Almanza ’10, MACSD ’12 and husband Vidal, son Vidal Ezekiel on Sept. 13, 2012

Nicole Elizabeth Henke ’07 to Casey Jay Laird, both of Kyle, on July 21, 2012 Sherry Mauch ’09 to Hans Klein ’09, both of Austin, on June 30, 2012


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Why They Volunteer By Hannah M. Hepfer

Class reunions are always a good time, and they’re made possible only because of the volunteers who do the behind-the-scenes work. Often beginning the planning process a year in advance, reunion volunteers are brought together by a common goal: creating a memorable event that reunites old friends and classmates. We talked with reunion volunteers Alicia Barron ’03, Rose Marie Hagman ’73 and Gil Stansbury ’63, who are currently planning their 10th, 40th and 50th reunions respectively, to find out why they got involved. What motivated you to become a volunteer? Barron: I was involved in the New York alumni chapter and became the chapter president two years ago. When I moved to Austin in June, I was elected to the alumni board. I specifically wanted to get involved with reunion planning to lend my experience working with out-of-state alumni. Stansbury: I’m an old guy with time on my hands, so why not? But seriously, six of my classmates and I got back in touch in 2007, and it evolved from there. We began looking up other old friends, and we ended up on the planning committee. What surprised you most about the reunion planning process? Barron: I was surprised by how easy and enjoyable it’s been. It’s flexible and on your terms. Hagman: I’ve been surprised by how enthusiastic people were about gathering in Texas for a reunion. It’s nice to know others want to rekindle friendships and retell stories that continue to get exaggerated. What is your favorite part of Homecoming? Hagman: Getting together [with classmates] and perusing the yearbooks for hours over several bottles of wine. Stansbury: I like the Saturday night get-together — what I call the “open mic” — where everyone gets up and yaks about old times. And just the one-on-one time when we get to talk with one another is great, too. What do you hope attendees will experience at Homecoming? Barron: I want attendees to remember what a great school St. Edward’s is. I also hope that after having such a good time at Homecoming, they’ll be inspired to get involved with their alumni chapter to stay connected. Stansbury: I want people to be aware of how quickly time passes. Yesterday was yesterday even though it was 50 years ago. Attending the reunion is a great entree to connecting with old friends. What do you hope attendees will do while on the hilltop? Barron: It would be a good idea to see all the new buildings that have been constructed since we were students. The campus has grown so much, and many building were just sketches when we were there. Hagman: I think the women should visit East Hall, and the guys should visit Andre and Doyle halls. We lived on campus all four years, so these dorms were a huge part of our time on campus — our home away from home.

In Memoriam Harald Becker, associate professor of German, passed away Sept. 8, 2012, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Becker began teaching in the School of Humanities in 1986 and became a full-time faculty member in 1990. He served as a resident director of the German Summer School in Taos, N.M., a place very dear to his heart. Becker touched the lives of countless students though the years. “His students received an amazing gift — intellectual stimulation, critical-thinking challenges and moments of discovery they could not imagine,” says Catherine MacDermott, professor of Business Communication and friend of Becker. Despite doctor’s orders, Becker returned to the hilltop on Aug. 22, 2012, to reconnect with his beloved colleagues and welcome the new school year.

UPDATE: ALUMNI ASSOCIATION STRATEGIC PLANNING To better serve the St. Edward’s alumni community, the alumni board and the university’s Alumni and Parent Program office embarked on a strategic-planning process. The preparation and research for this endeavor began in June 2012. The board will have a five-year plan written by this summer and will begin implementation immediately. Steps for this process have included the formation of work groups to facilitate research in areas including chapter and network expansion, marketing and communications, volunteer engagement, and national and global alumni board development and outreach. The board’s research has included studying peer institutions, interviewing alumni, hosting regional focus groups and identifying what the term “top-tier alumni association” means to the St. Edward’s community. In Spring 2013, a survey will be conducted by email and phone to find out what alumni want in terms of service and experience. The information collected will be used to set priorities for services, volunteer opportunities and events; complete the writing of the strategic plan; and determine the implementation timeline. If you have information or thoughts to share with the alumni board, contact board chair Kay Arnold ’04, MLA ’06 ( or board vice chair Stephanie Bazan ’02 (

IN MEMORIAM Neill Ramos ’09 to Magen Moody ’09, both of Trophy Club, on Dec. 8, 2012

Richard Miller ’49, of Sun City, Ariz., on March 5, 2011 Glenn Satterfield hs ’51, of Denver, on Feb. 13, 2011

Donald Dearing ’53, of Austin, on July 22, 2012 Brother Alfred Ledet, CSC, ’55, of Santarem, Brazil, on Aug. 28, 2012

James Guerra hs ’57, of Edinburg, on Dec. 3, 2011 James Bruch ’59, of Lockhart, on July 7, 2012


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1960s Ted Benton ’65, of Winchester, Mass., recently published the audiobook How to Transform Your Life Forever with SelfHypnosis. It is available on and Benton is in his 15th year as the clinical hypnotherapist at Winchester Hospital.

1970s John Lash ’70, of Austin, was featured in the Austin American-Statesman in May 2012 for his produce-delivery company, Farm to Table, which specializes in locally grown food. Lois Kerschen ’72, of Houston, recently published the book American Proverbs About Women in paperback and Kindle format. The book provides a fun and shocking look at what is said about women in our culture. Joe Goldblatt ’75, of Edinburgh, Scotland, was honored during the 25th anniversary celebration of the International Special Events Society in Dallas on Aug. 4, 2012. Goldblatt received the Klaus Inkamp Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to education and certification in the global special-events industry. The award has only been presented six times in the organization’s history. Maria Bribriesco ’79, of Bettendorf, Iowa, ran for Iowa House of Representatives District 94 on the Democratic ticket.

1980s Father Isidore Ndagizimana ’89, of Austin, was named pastor at St. Thomas More Parish. Anna Swisher MBA ’89, of Georgetown, served as the content expert for the recently released health-care DVD Managing Early Breastfeeding Challenges. She is a boardcertified lactation consultant.

1990s Aliceson Pinkerton MAHS ’95, of Longview, was selected as director of the Greater Longview United Way. She began her new position in August 2012.

Brother Frederick Williams, CSC, ’63, of South Bend, Ind., on Aug. 4, 2012 Milton Hernandez ’64, of Montgomery Village, Md., on June 14, 2012


Barbara Fay Foreman ’96, of Austin, is teaching Environmental Law Enforcement at St. Edward’s. She recently returned to Texas after living in Washington, D.C. Previously, Foreman was commander of the Texas Environmental Crimes Task Force and was a special assistant for state and local programs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Carolyn Marie Horvath MBA ’97, of Ottawa Lake, Mich., ran for treasurer of Riga Township. Jeff Earle ’99, of Kyle, accepted the position of police captain at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. Erin Prather Stafford ’99, of Dallas, received the Audience Award for Feature Film at the Indianapolis International Film Festival for her documentary film project Wonder Women! The film has also been selected to be part of the Independent Lens Women and Girls Lead Initiative and will air on PBS in 2013.

2000s Tara Battani ’00, of Los Angeles, was featured in the Member’s Spotlight section of the Nov. 22, 2012, issue of Backstage magazine. Battani also received the Best of 2011–2012 Stage Scene LA Award for her performance in Days of Wine and Roses. Mario Garcia ’00, of La Vernia, was named CEO of the South Texas Energy and Economic Roundtable, which seeks to influence news coverage and public perception of drilling of oil and gas. Leslie Ward ’01, of Austin, joined the board of the Texas Cultural Trust and was also recently appointed to the Texas Supreme Court Emergency Preparedness Task Force. Ward is vice president of external affairs for AT&T Texas. Charles Mercer ’03, of Austin, was named executive director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul–Diocesan Council of Austin in May 2012. Previously, he was associate director of annual giving at Wyoming Catholic College.

Brother Peter Graham, CSC, ’65, of Lakewood, Ohio, on Sept. 11, 2012 Paul McDermott ’65, of Delran, N.J., on May 26, 2012

C. Sean Spivey ’06, of Houston, accepted a position as assistant general counsel at The Competitive Carriers Association in Washington, D.C. Dallas Darby ’07, of Austin, is founder of, which has been featured in the Austin American-Statesman, the Austin Chronicle, and on KXAN and KTBC. The data-driven website was the Critic’s Pick for Best Way to Chart Local Crime in the 2011 Austin Chronicle’s Best of Austin list. Nicole Henke ’07, of Kyle, received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Texas Women’s University in Houston in May 2012. She works as a physical therapist at The Heights Rehabilitation & Long-Term Care facility in Gonzales. Stephanie Meyer ’07, of Seabrook, graduated from medical school in June 2012. She is a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps. Adrian Rison-Isom ’07, of Austin, created a sculpture of Jack Johnson, the first AfricanAmerican to win the world heavyweight boxing title, in Galveston. Isom is head of the Austin-based nonprofit Wax Track Gallery International and Isom Enterprises, an industrial design and contracting business. Jessica Burkemper ’08, of Austin, is the senior shelter manager at Front Steps (Austin Resource Center for the Homeless). Matthew Hines ’09, of Conroe, along with his band, The Eastern Sea, released a new album, “Plague.” The band launched the album at Stubb’s BBQ in June 2012. Austin Landry ’09, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was promoted to first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.

2010s Austin Vogler Dains ’10, of Pearland, was accepted to the London School of Economics in the Urban and City Studies program. Kateri Kugelmann ’10, of Dallas, joined the Peace Corps in July 2012 and is assigned to Cambodia.

Phillip Scanlon hs ’67, of Austin, on June 2, 2012 Francis Rupert ’71, of Laguna Woods, Calif., on March 15, 2012

Owen Russell ’73, of Austin, on Dec. 3, 2011 Paul Fischer ’76, of Bastrop, on May 27, 2012


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Grace Pettis ’10, of Mentone, Ala., received a favorable review in The Dallas Morning News in August 2012 for her music. The folk songwriter and singer performed in the city in late July.

CHAPTER NEWS Austin alumni gathered with students to kick off the fall semester at Hillfest. The chapter also volunteered at the Capital Area Food Bank in honor of Founders Day. “I have been celebrating Founders Day by participating in our service project for several years now,” says Lizet Hinojosa ’04. “Having recently relocated to Austin, the event at Capital Area Food Bank allowed my husband and me to give back to the community we now call home.”

Hans Christianson MLA ’11, of Dunmore, Pa., is communication and development coordinator at The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education in Scranton, Pa. Jason Charles Tuggle ’11, of Leander, is president of 360 Press Solution in Cedar Park. Tuggle’s company earned 25 awards from the Printing and Imaging Association of MidAmerica in April 2012. Elizabeth Dains Vogler ’11, of Pearland, completed an Italian language certification and was accepted to the Museum Studies graduate program jointly sponsored by Marist College and Lorenzo de Medici University in Florence, Italy. Shirley Green ’12, of Port Isabel, has been named a 2012 Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow. The fellowship, funded by the U.S. Department of State, will provide financial support for her to earn a graduate degree at the University of Texas before entering the U.S. Foreign Service. Dallas Hudgens ’12, of Austin, spent summer 2012 as an intern at the Austin Chronicle and was featured in a back-to-school article.

 SEND IN YOUR CLASSNOTES Send your Class Note and wedding or birth announcement to the Alumni Office at

Learn more about upcoming events with Hilltop.Connect

Corpus Christi alumni volunteers gathered this fall to create connections and plan for future area alumni events.

The Dallas alumni chapter volunteered at the North Texas Food Bank in honor of Founders Day. “With so many people that go hungry in communities around the nation, the opportunity to give to such an impactful organization as the North Texas Food Bank for the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex as alumni was a truly rewarding experience,” says Chad Skinner ’97. “It reflects the mission and principles that the founders of St. Edward’s envisioned for the university and its alumni today.” El Paso alumni volunteers gathered last fall to create connections and plan for future area alumni events. The Houston alumni chapter volunteered at the Houston Food Bank in honor of Founders Day. “It was great to see fellow alumni at the annual service project event,” says Megan McElligott ’08. “I believe we really made a difference in helping the Houston community. It was an honor to be representing St. Edward’s. Our group helped box and compile about 1,500 boxes of food for the Houston community.” Houston alumni also supported the St. Edward’s men’s basketball team when the Hilltoppers took on the Rice Owls. Alumni gave back to the Houston community during the holidays at the annual Salvation Army holiday service project. On Aug. 29, 2012, members of the Washington, D.C., chapter remembered and celebrated the life of Ed Shirley, professor of Religious Studies, who passed away in August 2012. The evening started with a Mass offered at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. Alumni shared all sorts of stories — from the funny to the profound — over dinner and drinks, and came away with the belief that to know Shirley was to be a student of his. In September 2012, Washington, D.C., alumni, current parents and prospective students gathered for an evening with George E. Martin. The guest speaker was Brian Smith, associate dean of the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences and chair of the Political Science department. In November, alumni met with the Hilltop Leaders student group to discuss life after St. Edward’s. Alumni shared their St. Edward’s experiences, along with their work experiences, during dinner. The Hilltop Leaders group travels to Washington, D.C., every year to meet with government leaders.

Betty Krumdick ’77, of Dripping Springs, on Sept. 26, 2012 Richard Salisbury ’77, of Fort Pierce, Fla., on Sept. 3, 2011

Elaine O’Donnell ’80, of Buda, on July 11, 2012 Michael Maag ’95, of Houston, on Feb. 13, 2012

Wade Simoneaux ’98, of Houston, on Sept. 23, 2012 Scott Henderson ’05, of Texas City, on June 5, 2012

Vanessa Adams ’06, of Henderson, Nev., on May 22, 2012 Matthew Cahill ’12, of New Orleans, La., on Aug. 12, 2012


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Homecoming and Family Weekend


NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade


Dallas Presidential Reception


Alumni Night at the San Antonio Spurs


Laredo Presidential Reception

APRIL 16 MAY 24–26


Houston Presidential Reception St. Edward’s High School Reunion 512-416-5845 St. Edward’s University Campus Mail Box 1028 Attn: Data Specialist 3001 South Congress Avenue Austin, Texas 78704-6489

NETWORK: Search for St. Edward’s University Alumni Association



ALUMNI NEWS MMNT Alumni Event Theater alumni kicked off the 40th anniversary of the Mary Moody Northen Theatre with a pre-show cocktail before heading to see Under Construction. Alumni Panel Last November, alumni participated in the annual First Year Seminar/Alumni Panel for freshmen undecided in their major. The purpose of the event is to showcase alumni in a variety of careers and from various majors to provide insight for students who aren’t sure of their path. After the general panel, students had the opportunity to speak with the panelists one-on-one. The event is co-hosted each fall by the Alumni Association and Academic Planning and Support Services. Alumni Golf Tournament Golf alumni were invited to play with the current team in the annual alumni golf tournament on Nov. 10, 2012. Alumni and parents participated in a two-person best-ball competition at Grey Rock Golf Club. Activities also included a post-tournament party. Baseball Alumni Weekend In October 2012, baseball alumni were welcomed back to campus for the annual alumni game against the current baseball team. Alumni, parents and current players enjoyed a highly competitive game followed by a luncheon. The alumni game traditionally serves as the last game of the fall season for the Hilltoppers.

Softball Alumni Game and Hit-a-thon The St. Edward’s softball coaching staff and team welcomed back softball alumni for the annual game and luncheon in October 2012. Alumni spent the day meeting current players, head coach Lindsay Gardner and assistant coach Cat Osterman. Alumni also watched the current team participate in the annual Hit-a-thon, which raises money for the softball program. Women’s Basketball Alumni Luncheon and Game Women’s basketball alumni were welcomed back to campus for a luncheon and alumni game against the current team on Nov. 3, 2012. We hope this will become an annual event for our women’s basketball alumni. Contact women’s basketball coach J.J. Reihl ( with ideas about future alumni gatherings and how to support the current team.


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REVEALING PLACE | Only in Austin would someone think of sculpting a beard into interesting shapes. Kelly Zhu ’14 captured this image for her Photocommunications class with Professor Joe Vitone last semester. The image is part of the “Revealing Place: Photographs from Missouri, Pennsylvania and Texas” exhibit at Pittsburgh Filmmakers, which runs through March 17. Vitone teamed up with his son and St. Edward’s alumnus, Dylan Vitone ’01, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and Joe Johnson, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri in Columbia, to have their students capture images for a joint exhibit that would reveal the cultural barometer of the students’ respective

communities. The completed exhibit includes three images from each of the 36 students and explores everything from subterranean businesses communities to the life of an exotic dancer. If you can’t get to Pittsburgh in the next couple of months, visit to see images from the exhibit. Above: Alex LaRoche represents the Austin Facial Hair Club at the Inaugural Lone Star Beard and Moustache Competition in Dallas. He took home first place in the Best Freestyle Beard category and Best in Show. “I try to do something different every time,” LaRoche says, who’s previously sculpted his beard into animal shapes. “Otherwise it’s boring.” 41 37

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Visit to catch of a clip from Under Construction and to see what actors have graced the stage of Mary Moody Northen Theatre.

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St. Edward's University Magazine Winter 2013  

In this issue of St. Edward’s University Magazine, students bring a theater production to life, chronicle their travels through Asia, examin...

St. Edward's University Magazine Winter 2013  

In this issue of St. Edward’s University Magazine, students bring a theater production to life, chronicle their travels through Asia, examin...